With World Gin Day fast approaching on June 9, we felt it was time to celebrate our favourite gin bars around Hong Kong. Whether you prefer a classic G&T, a goblet adorned with the fanciest garnishes you can find, or even the occasional rubber duckie, we have it all in the 852. So without further ado, let the fun be-GIN!
While this reputable haunt prides itself on its high-end signature and premium cocktails created by award-winning mixologist Antonio Lai, it doesn’t take gin too seriously. Hence, gin lovers with a sense of humour will no doubt appreciate the famous KGB: Kyoho Grape Bathtub ($128). This best-selling creation is quite famous on the local bar scene, and for a good reason – it’s delightfully playful and damn delicious. Served in a special tea bubble bath, with gin and fruit juices, complete with edible bubbles and your very own rubber duckie – what’s not to love? Those who prefer the classic touch might enjoy the Classic Earl Grey Martini ($128) or Vintage Negroni which comes with a hefty $300 price tag. Whatever your preference, ORI-GIN has everything you could want in a gin bar – a seemingly endless menu of perfectly executed drinks (featuring 15 homemade gin infusion flavours), a classy and convenient setting, and dashings of fun! No wonder it was voted one of Asia’s 50 Best Bars in 2016.
ORI-GIN, Ground Floor, 48 Wyndham Street, Central, (+852) 2668 5583
A stone’s throw from ORI-GIN is Quinary, a long bar which is just as playful with its cocktails. This popular haunt boasts the same award-winning mixologist as ORI-GIN, which becomes apparent when you spot cocktails like the Lavender Meringue Pie ($130) and Marshmallow Duo ($100) on the menu. Quinary is all about “multisensory mixology” and the bartenders go to great lengths to stimulate your five senses, so you can rest assured that you won’t be disappointed when your concoction arrives at the table. Among our favourites are the refreshing On The Meadow ($120), made with lemongrass-redistilled Tanqueray gin, elderflower syrup, lime juice, and a hint of mint syrup, served fizzy over ice. Fans of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory might enjoy the highly grammable Miss Rosa Fizz ($140) gin gimlet with Beefeater 24, rose, and lemon verbena-scented cacao ice cube (pictured above). Wonderfully creative and seriously tasty, this joint earns its number 15 spot in Asia’s 50 Best Bars for 2018.
Quinary, 56-58 Hollywood Road, Central, (+852) 2851 3223
Dr Fern’s Gin Parlour
Feeling a little under the weather? Maybe Doctor Fern can help you out with a stiff G&T. This quirky speakeasy completely wins us over with its impressive 20-page drinks menu and fictitious backstory, centering on the eccentric physician and his quest to create the most fabulous “remedies” for his patients. As you walk through the mysterious Waiting Room door of this basement bar in the Landmark, you are instantly transported to a whimsical wonderland filled with dreamy cocktails served by “physicians” in white lab coats. Whether you prefer fruity, floral, spicy, or sweet, you’re sure to find the perfect “antidote” to cure your ailments. We personally find the Blind Tiger Gin ($175) with Fever-Tree tonic, grated lime, and rosemary very effective. The punchy Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin ($110) with clove-studded orange slices also works wonders for a cold. Cheaper than an actual trip to the doctor’s office in Hong Kong!
Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour, Shop B31A, First Basement Floor, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, (+852) 2111 9449
Ping Pong 129 Gintonéria
Concealed behind an ominous-looking red door in Sai Ying Pun, this converted ping pong hall is not only one of our favourite hidden bars in Hong Kong, but also one of the most generous when it comes to servings. You’ll need two hands to swirl the gigantic goblet of gin, weighed down by equally gigantic ice cubes. While these might not be the cheapest drinks in town (they range from $120 to $180), they certainly last a long time, and with a menu featuring 50 different gins, you’ll want to take your time choosing. If that’s too overwhelming, though, we thoroughly recommend the Raspberry Gin ($150) from Barcelona, combined with Fever-Tree elderflower tonic and fresh raspberries, or the zesty Pomada cocktail ($150) with lemon juice and mint. Then it’s time to settle down on the chic, leather couch and lap up the stylish Spanish Gintonería vibes.
Ping Pong 129 Gintonéria, 129 Second St, Nam Cheong House, Sai Ying Pun, (+852) 9835 5061
With a menu as straightforward as the bar’s name, and a “WE KNOW GIN” tagline to match, G&T is the perfect spot for a decent fix in the heart of the city. While the bar serves over 75 types of craft gin from around the world, the cocktail menu keeps things nice and simple, with a selection of six “Modern Era” and six “Signature” options to choose from. Top of our list of modern tipples are the summery Rosemary Queen and the decadent Sugar Daddy, while the sharp and foamy Gin Sour (all $105), with sloe gin and egg white, steals the show on the signatures. This is the perfect spot to kick back and relax as you overlook the hustle and bustle of Hollywood Road below.
G&T Bar, UG/F Shama Place, 30 Hollywood Road, Central, (+852) 2481 3588
Make mine a goblet! With its flamboyant list of signature cocktails, each served in a glass as big as your head, it’s no wonder Spanish bar and restaurant, The Optimist, is a favourite among gin lovers across the city. We’re drooling at the mouth just reminiscing about the Cilantro’s Theory ($110) with Bombay gin infused coriander, elderflower liquor, white Yzaguiree vermouth, and lemongrass, topped with ice. The Jasmine Fizz ($100) isn’t half bad either, blending Malfy lemon gin with jasmine syrup, mint, grapefruit juice, and tonic – and we haven’t even got to the list of 24 gin and tonics yet! From classic sips to over-the-top tipples – like the Eden Mill Love ($90) with marshmallows and rose infused gin – the choices are seemingly endless. Swing by during happy hour any day from 3pm and you’ll also get to snap up gorgeous gin cocktails like the Bramble for a piddly $48.
The Optimist, 239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, (+852) 2433 3324
Artesian at The Langham
We’ve saved the fanciest till last. This luxury, award-winning bar concept from London takes centre stage when it comes to some of the finest classic cocktails and expertly made G&Ts in town. Whether you choose to play it safe with a classic London Martini ($120), or get cheeky with a Hanky Panky re–Invented ($110), there’s plenty of choice on the cocktail menu to keep you happy. The G&T menu is just as impressive, packed with gins from England, Scotland, Germany, and beyond – plus your own choice of tonic. If you swing by from 6pm any day of the week, you can enjoy Aperitivo Hour which gets you a complimentary Italian platter of meats, cheeses, and home-made artisan breads when you order two selected drinks. Oozing nostalgic romance and old-world charm, this sophisticated bar is the dream spot for gin lovers to unwind in.
Artesian, The Langham, Hong Kong, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, (+852) 2132 7898